Part the Second

“I am still not sure this is a good idea Lumiale.” Julious rubbed his left temple slowly, inwardly cursing himself for calling a meeting before having his daily expresso.

“I felt it was the best course of action. I wanted to him to have the chance we didn’t. This is a sensitive matter we-”

“Sensitive matter! This is a breach of protocol!” Oscar snapped, cutting of Lumiale.

“Oscar...” Julious spoke slowly, hoping no one would notice that he was clenching his teeth. “What is done is done. While I may not like it, I will not have us fighting amongst ourselves over it. We are to handle this situation together.”

A snort came from farther down the table. “Something to add, Sei-Lan?”

“Oh nothing, Julious-sama.” The Instructor added a sarcastic flair to the honorific, “But what about those of us who haven’t been ‘together’ on this from the start?” He was referring to the fact that the Instructors had only been informed about the new Guardian that morning.

“I thought we had agreed to drop this subject?

“And I thought there was a little more trust between all of us, but that sort of thing must be reserved for Guardians only.” Sei-Lan leaned forward on to the table, his words thinly veiling his contempt at being left out.

Julious began to rise out of his seat, “And I told you-”

“ENOUGH!” Julious immediately sat down and Sei-Lan backed away from the table, as did several others who were not involved in the verbal scuffle. “There is no use to argue about trivial things at a time like this. Now, Amtiel will be attending lunch with us today and are going to make nice in front of the company. He is shook up enough over this as it is and we cannot afford to scare him off. This meeting is adjourned.” He stood up and walked out of the room.

“Damn...” Olivie whistled for emphasis, “When did Lumiale grow a backbone?”

~~~~~

“That was quite a thing you did. No one has ever put Julious in his place like that. I don’t even think his own mother ever talked to him that way.” Clavis smirked as the two Guardians were walking to the gate of the Holy City to escort their guest.

“I only did what was necessary, Clavis-sama.”

“May I ask the question that is on everyone’s mind?”

“You mean why I’m doing this? Why I, the quiet, gentle Water Guardian, choose to challenge untold years of tradition?”

Clavis only nodded in response.

“I thought it was wrong how new Guardians are just pulled from the world they’ve always known and are dropped into this bureaucratic mess of a ‘Sanctuary’. He should at least have some idea of what he’ll be dealing with for the next twenty or so years before he has to commit totally to it.”

“Very well put, Lumiale. It’s good to see I’m not the only rebel around here. Just don’t push it too far. Julious might make you wear pants if you keep acting like more of a man than him.”

Lumiale gave one of his rare laughs that reminded everyone of a babbling brook.

~~~~~

Amtiel was awed by the majesty of the Sanctuary. It made the Academy look like a horse stable. The dining looked as though you could easily hold a twenty person 100-meter dash inside of it. Two huge chandeliers hung from the high ceiling, both weighted with hundreds of twinkling gems. The table was made of the finest oak, stained a rich brown. Fifteen places had been officially set, with an extra one as well. Each chair had a title carved elegantly into the back, a place card fit for a resident of the Sanctuary. Amtiel did notice that he sat in an unmarked chair, but he didn’t mind. He was just happy to be in such a place.

He found lately that he had become better at detecting Sacrea, but being near other Guardians gave him the strongest impression of each element. He was already familiar with Lumiale’s Water, which was like gentle, unexpected spring rains. Clavis’ Dark was also relaxing, like the cool breezes of nights that lay on the cusp of fall and winter. They were the first ones in the dining hall, but others soon followed, the first being two youths. The older of the two, with tussled brown hair and bright blue eyes, was scented like a soccer field surrounded by towering evergreen trees and caressed with summer winds. The other, younger with a blonde pony-tail and innocent violet eyes, carried the fragrance of a garden with hundreds of flowers and fresh cut grass. Amtiel was introduced to the boys, Randy the Wind Guardian and Marcel the Green Guardian, both of whom he had to convince to call him ‘Amtiel-san’ since he was still not used to the –sama honorific.

Another boy trailed after them, with spiked white hair and ruby eyes, who smelled almost like a very clean gas station. He turned out to be Zephel, Guardian of Steel, who seemed as though he couldn’t care less about the whole affair.

A man in his mid-twenties shuffled in next. He had soft gray-violet eyes, blue-green hair that peaked out from under a turban and an aroma reminiscent of reading huge, dusty library books in a quiet park. This was Luva the Earth Guardian, whom Amtiel almost immediately took a liking to. Maybe it was because he was a classic absent-minded professor or that he had a huge collection of books that Amtiel was free to use.

Three gentlemen were the next to come in. The leading one was a thin younger man, cool sapphire eyes and purple hair combed in such a way as to make it a barrier between him and the world. He carried a scent that was somewhere between a colder version of Lumiale’s Water and something else that Amtiel assumed was Flame. Behind was an older, taller man with gold eyes and a lion’s mane of auburn hair. Amtiel guessed his scent was either Wind or Light, but he could not be entirely sure. The last one was a boy in Tropical dress, both his hair and eyes a shade between black and silver. He also harbored a hard to place aroma, like what could be Light or maybe just a brighter type of Water. They introduced themselves as the Instructors, Sei-Lan of Sense, Victor of Mind, and Timka of Dignity. They appeared to be overall nice people, Timka being especially nice, but they also seemed to be slightly distant from the Guardians that day.

After them came a man with icy eyes and flaming hair and he carried an essence that reminded one of camping out in the woods and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on an open fire. He said he was Oscar, Guardian of Flame, and Amtiel noticed him and Lumiale exchanging a hard stare, but did not comment.

Another, more unusual pair entered. The first was a Dragon child who’s red hair and eyes marked it as a member of the Fire Clan, and it did smell of Flame, but gentler than Oscar’s. Behind him, or her, Amtiel wasn’t sure of the gender, was another young man, with blue hair styled with a part hanging to the side and lime-green eyes behind silver glass akin to the one’s Amtiel used for reading. He carried the scent of Earth, but it was more unyielding than Luva’s. These were Mel, the Royal Fortune-Teller, who was very happy and excited just to meet a new person, and Ernst, Head of the Royal Researched Institute, who hoped they would forego school loyalties to work together. Amtiel was happy to agree, wanting to make as many good impressions and friends as possible during this first meeting.

One more person entered. He carried himself with an air of dignity, shining through his intense blue eyes and shimmering across his way gold hair. He had to be one of Light, which was like a grand cathedral or elegant place basking in the sun on a day at the height of summer. This was indeed, Julious, Guardian of Light, whom Amtiel felt a great deal of respect for. “Is that everyone?” He tentatively asked Lumiale as people began to be seated.

“There is still Olivie, who may or may be bringing a guest.”

As if on cue, the said Guardian entered as flamboyantly as possible. He glistened and sparkled with the sheer amount of jewelry he was wearing and his hair had been conditioned, glossed, and dyed until pink ran to gold and gold to ran green. His fragrance was that of citrus, bright and overwhelming, laden with grapefruit, tangerine, orange and every other kind of tropical fruit. This scent went straight to Amtiel’s sinuses, giving him a headache more terrible than any he had before.

This did keep him from noticing what was happening to Olivie, who’s sinuses were overpowered by sandalwood. Not only did he have a headache but he also doubled-over in a coughing-fit that caused his jewelry to jangle with every jerking movement. “What * cough,jangle * is that?!?”

It was at this time that Amtiel began to cough as well, the agony of his headache now amplified through his entire being. Through the haze of pain and coughing the two looked at each other and said at once, “It’s you!” after which they both promptly fainted.

~~~~~~~~~~

Part the Third